I don’t think you can overstate the love that Paul Pierce has for the Boston Celtics and their fans, and vice-versa. Pierce has been a mainstay with the organization before all of their recent success with the traditional “big three” of he, Kevin Garnett, and the recently departed Ray Allen. However, after the Celtics first-round exit this year by the hands of the rival New York Knicks, there have been murmurs that the Celtics may be looking to make some serious changes. According to people close to Pierce, and reportedly Pierce himself, they think he may be a part of the overhaul in Boston.
Here are some more details from probasketballtalk.com via an interview with Celtics sideline reporter Greg Dickinson for Comcast Sportsnet New England:
“… I know that the company that Paul Pierce hangs around in, they do not believe – and I don’t think Paul Pierce believes – that he is going to be brought back next year at $15 million. I know for a fact that people around Paul Pierce have pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that he’s played his final game in a Boston Celtics uniform. Again, Paul wants to stay – obviously for $15 million — but he wants to finish his career in a Celtics uniform…. Probably a buyout (rather than a trade)…
“(Garnett) doesn’t want to be around for a rebuilding phase for another year. If Paul’s gone, I think without a doubt Kevin Garnett is gone, either by retirement or he finally decides to waive his no-trade clause, and the Celtics maybe work something out with a Clippers team. But the list is real short. The teams that Kevin Garnett would go to, there might be two of them on it, and they both might be the Clippers and Lakers.”
To me, it seems fairly obvious that the Celtics window with this group has closed, and it is time for General Manager to think with his head instead of his heart. The team had a very similar scenario with Ray Allen last year, and ended up losing him for nothing. It seems that all parties involved will understand the need to move Pierce as a business decision. The biggest problem with getting rid of Pierce, as stated by Dickinson above, is that Garnett will be going with him, whether it is through retirement or waiving his no-trade clause. Without Pierce and Garnett, the Celtics now become Rajon Rondo’s team, and given his flashes of immaturity, that may not be a recipe for success.
On the other hand, being a leader may be something Rondo has to learn on the job, instead of being shadowed by his two veteran teammates. It will also be interesting to see if the Celtics can manage to turn Pierce and KG into a team that can compete, or if the Celtics will be in a rebuilding stage if and when the two depart from the once championship caliber Boston Celtics.
By: Frank Santos